Saturday, September 29, 2007

Gileah and The Ghost Train - Gileah and The Ghost Train LP

by Frank Gualtier -- 09/29/07
Cover Design by Jeremy Beasley
Gileah and The Ghost Train
wo years following the release of Gileah Taylor's well received album 'The Golden Planes' (2005) comes her latest project Gileah and The Ghost Train and a new self titled debut LP.

The initiate contract of producer Allen Salmon's new label The Love Library the band, fronted by Gileah Taylor (vox, keys, guitars), consists of Kevin Woerner (electric guitars) and Ava Quigley (vox, guitars, omnichord). Session players include Allen Salmon himself (bass, programming, "Odds and Ends") and Ben Phillips (drums).

While 'The Golden Planes' has a very close up and personal 'in the same room' feel to it this new album widens that space and has a larger heavier footprint. The former made use of negative space in constructs built on sparsity whereas the latter leaves almost nothing of the canvas uncolored.

This is a serpentine venture through quasi-gothic spiritualism who's stories coil and writhe around love and faith in their many shades including the inherent and the antithetical.

Lent the edge of Kevin Woerner's electric guitar and the joyous talents of Ava Quigley this album takes a much deeper reach into rock space, both in darkness and in light, than Gileah's previous efforts without sacrificing depth or any of the warmth for which she's known. In fact I find this, by no short measure, to be her most compelling and passionate work to date.

Being a long time fan of The Wilshires (myspace), Rilo Kiley (myspace) and The Cardigans (myspace) I'd say if you like any of them (or anything even remotely close) this is a shoe-in for you.

Scheduled to drop this October 23rd (2007) 'Gileah and The Ghost Train' promises to be one of the best rock/pop-rock albums released this year. It's available for pre-order right now -- see merch below.
[ website | myspace | merch ]

Gileah Taylor
elow is a live video of the song 'All I Know'.

I'm quite fond of this one. It's a great performance and the audio quality of the recording is excellent by YouTube standards.

Dig that hair thing Gileah's got going there -- smokin' or what?

Kudos to Bala Boyd for capping this.

Gileah and The Ghost Train - All I Know (live)

Track Listing
01.) The Devil
02.) The Emergency
03.) The Escape
04.) The Lazarus
05.) The Light Princess
06.) The Lion In Love
07.) The Satellite
08.) The Shadow
09.) The Slave
10.) The Spirit

The Devil by Gileah and The Ghost Train
When the devil comes like a good angel, but with a loose tongue. I can't save you now. When my heart breaks from all your mistakes, the times are changing. I can't save you now. When all your friends leave you broken, leave you to your disease, I can't save you then. I have longed for change, Oh to see you choose, Oh, you can't refuse, the Savior's hand. I have prayed for change, Oh, to see you choose, Oh, you can't refuse, the Savior's hand. I only care for you, my dearest friend.

[ website | myspace | merch ]

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sing Sister Sing!

by Frank Gualtier -- 09/25/07

My mind is all a'clutter and full to breach-point these days with musical wonderment but I may have found some therapy to ease the inter-cranial pressure.

Check out my tumblelog Sing Sister Sing!.

I intend to keep this blog running as usual. In fact I'm working on improvements to it (in form, format and function) with fervent diligence. With any luck some of that will bear fruit before too long.

Meantime I setup Sing Sister Sing! as a place to pour my thoughts and things I run across relating to women and music -- as they happen or as memory re-summons.

I've set it up to import feeds from this and my other blogs so -- could be fun, and should definitely lead to you good music one way or another.

It's only about 48 hours old and has, I believe, all of 6 hits. Show it some love.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

AddThis Widget & New Blogger Templates - HOWTO

I tried adding the "cool" new version of the AddThis bookmarking widget to this blog and found that it did not work as advertised. It was shown to have a dropdown menu, but that was not the case.

This is most likely due to the new lingo blogger's new templates use.

I searched for a bit until my patience timer ran out and having found no information with a fix -- I wrote one myself.

Rather than have a lot of people ask me how to make it work I thought I'd save myself a ton of time and just post a short HOWTO right here where you can see it working.

First register yourself with AddThis if you haven't already.

Now follow these instructions:

1.) Log into your Blogger account
2.) Go to 'Edit HTML'
3.) Click 'Expand Widget Templates'
4.) Search for: <!-- quickedit pencil -->
5.) Add the following code immediately above it -- no edits required

<!-- AddThis Bookmark Button BEGIN -->
<div class="snarf-border">
<script type = 'text/javascript'>
addthis_url = '<data:post.url/>';
addthis_title = '<data:post.title/>';
addthis_pub = '<data:blog.url/>';
type='text/javascript' />
<!-- AddThis Bookmark Button END -->
If your template adds borders to images and you don't want this widget to have a border then go to the top of the template and search for:

body {

then find the closing brace '}' for the 'body {' block and right beneath it add the following code:

.snarf-border a img { border: none; }



Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cherry Pick: Allie Fancher

by Frank Gualtier -- 09/18/07
Photo by Melany Hallgren
Allie Fancher
t was the tirelessly dedicated Mark Collins of Women of the '90s radio (see links on sidebar) who guided me to Allie Fancher and her wonderful folk-rock.

Her songs flow smoothly and she's got a way with hooking you both on verse and chorus. This is the kind of music you can't help but sing along with.

She has a darling of a song called Look Good Feel Good up on her myspace profile that you can download free as of this writing. It's very catchy -- guaranteed to bring you back to her and the rest of her music.

That is my goal.
Allie's music can be purchased at her live performances.

Cherry Pick: Sharron Kraus

by Frank Gualtier -- 09/18/07
Photo by Barron Bixler
Sharron Kraus
inger songwriter Sharron Kraus's voice is like liquid that bubbles and warbles it's way up and down through songs that are by my reckoning muchly like bare'ish noir roots music with it's tail still halfway into Ireland.

She's got three songs available to freely download as of this writing.

- Bruton Town
- On the Chase
- Uncle Rat

I recommend starting with On The Chase.

If dark folk lights your fire you'll warm straight away to Sharon Kraus.

Get 'em while you can and fall yourself in love with this music.

[ website (you can purchase here) | myspace ]

Cherry Pick: Therese Åhs

by Frank Gualtier -- 09/18/07

Therese Åhs
while back large hearted Kelley Martin of Acoustic Pie internet radio (see links on sidebar) pointed me to Gothenburg,
Sweden's Therese Åhs via Therese's alter ego Natalie Moody.

What I heard was a beautiful (and HUGE) voice singing a dreamy original song called Outside.

And good news (ya freeloaders) on the song -- she currently has it available for free download on her myspace page.

Excellent promo since I can't imagine anyone hearing this song and this voice and not wanting more.

You can find the lyrics >here<.

[ website | myspace: Therese Åhs / Natalie Moody ]

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bat For Lashes - Fur and Gold

by Frank Gualtier -- 09/17/07, 09/18/07

Fur and Gold
he LP Fur and Gold, released between 2006 and 2007 (UK-Europe to US), by Bat For Lashes (aka Natasha Khan) strikes me more as an experience than an album.

Largely 60's-70's era based arrangements provide environment for witty mini epics like Horse & I and Trophy, the anti-ballad What's A Girl To Do?, a warning of ways in Seal Jubilee, dream sequence-like tales such as I Saw A Light, a cover of Bruce Springsteen's I'm On Fire and much more.

Her early soul influence shines in the exquisitely dark Sarah, a song possibly stolen from Berry Gordy's X vault of 'WHOAtown' - the top secret just in case this other shit don't fly tainted space recordings. With words like "Chewing fingernails in her shit-eating grin" and "They cut out her heart when she was a little girl" enveloped in a pure motown sound this doll is so wrong she's right.

Her voice is unique for the most part but at times she does sound a fair bit like Bjork.

On the whole the claim is that much of what she writes is fairy tale inspired. I won't argue that but for the studious there's an entire universe of innuendo and double entendre going on in subtext. I could be wrong[1] but it's worth asking yourself exactly who The Wizard is next time you run off to shoot a lion.

When you listen to this album, and I strongly urge you to do so, be sure to give it your full ear because you're quite probably hearing the musical equivalent of an Einstein:Shakespeare mashup from a long lost angst filled mystic who's watch was stopped some forty odd years ago by an inner child playing games.

Natasha Khan's genius runs deep.

Fur and Gold is an an experience you'll be glad to have had and a prize album for any collection even remotely within earshot of rock, pop or folk.

[ website | myspace | video: What's A Girl To Do ]
[ amazon: Fur and Gold | text lyrics | handwritten lyrics ]

1And it's raining popcorn on mars.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Susanne Sundfør - Susanne Sundfør LP

by Frank Gualtier -- 09/16/07

Susanne Sundfør
ore Scandinavian grace and little bit of magic cometh our way...

Norway's Susanne Sundfør released her self titled debut LP this year and it's a beauty. If I were rich I would buy everyone a copy of this and I bet you'd all insist on paying me back -- it's that good.

The compilation is an eleven track (plus one hidden song) pop-rock album in the same vein as some of The Beatles more poignant and mellow works like Eleanor Rigby while occasionally brushing more epic skies and rich progressions that remind me of Great Northern but always rent in a personal manner.

Both the afore mentioned harmonic progressions as well as her pros are often split into opposing hues of dichotomy. She sings in celebration of resignation in what sounds like a spiritual epiphany in 'I Resign' and of strength in loneliness leading to an open door in 'Walls'. The first song will raise goosebumps -- the second will quite possibly make you want to weep and in both, as with many of her other songs, she paints the backdrop as much with her music as with her words.

When I hear her voice I think of a butterfly. It flips and flops and flutters around so casually as to appear almost clumsy and yet just as that butterfly can navigate through a field of thistle without so much as a single incident so too does Susanne flirt with notes. An excellent example is how she ends each repetition of chorus in her song 'Gravity' -- dancing about like a songbird in spring (yet again against a somewhat jaded text) and tagging every note of these lovely alternating short scales. It's breathtaking.

She doesn't sound like anyone I've ever heard but I have seen her compared to Chan Marshall and I wouldn't argue with that too much.

Every song on this album is fitfully and/or joyfully moving and filled with incredible depth. She's only twenty one years old yet she sings of things very far beyond her years. Things many artists twice her age can't touch. She's one of the brightest stars in a sky filled with brilliant constellations and I simply cannot praise her enough as an artist or suitably elevate her work on this incredible album.
Susanne Sundfør
ere's a video of Susanne performing live at Rockefeller with the KORK orchestra.

This is a beautifully charged performance. You can almost taste the electricity in the air and Susanne's disciplined composure is as stunning as her music.


'The Waves', 'Dear John' then 'After You Left'

[ website | myspace | Susanne Sundfør LP (Hardcopy) ]

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mariee Sioux - Faces in the Rocks

by Frank Gualtier -- 09/15/07

Mariee Sioux
sk yourself this: would you be able to hear the words "Mama my vein braider thousand year bone burner" pass your ears from a song without stopping everything you're doing to divert all your attention thatta-way?

Mariee Sioux instantly became one of my favorite artists for doing exactly that to me with the song 'Wild Eyes' from her debut album 'Faces in the Rocks', due to ship this October 1st, 2007.

It's a heritage-theme based folk collection that is filled with just such pros. She has a most curious and intense manner of thinking exactly like a child but articulating like an adult. I'm not sure if that's cute or spooky but it definitely provokes thought.

'Faces in the Rocks' takes you on spirit-piercing word-journeys where one minute you're soaring and the next you're 'Burried in Teeth'.

As for the music itself -- if Simon & Garfunkle had been Native American and gender-swapped I'm convinced Mariee Sioux is probably what they'd have sounded like. Listen to the flow of her finger picking and the rests and pickups in verse -- a surprising lot of common ground.

She has a sweet voice that's playful one minute and verges on angst the next. Combined with the masterful Native American flutes of Gentle Thunder and her own Father Gary Sobonya on mandolin (and a cast of a few other very talented musicians) this album truly comes to life in an intoxicating yet wisely restrained manner.

And though the engineering (Dana Gumbiner, Gentle Thunder, and Mariee Sioux herself) tops it off and really 'takes you there' these are songs of unforgettable melody and verse that are just as easily enjoyed with nothing but Mariee Sioux and her guitar.

Now that's just great folk music.

Wild Eyes by Mariee Sioux
Tiny darling ghost holder
Tiny darling ghost holder
You our soft spirit breather
You our bark skinned weaver
Remember you could weep fire
Remember you could weep fire with wild eyes
With wild eyes, ooo with those wild eyes

If you ring your cells like bells in a garden that
You plant your burdens way deep down in
And water them daily from wells of salty
Guilt for sons who pollinate the deadly
That wild eye, ooo that wild eye

Papa my pine whistler sparrow-eyed sun misser
Papa my pine whistler sparrow-eyed moon blisser
Mama my jaw clincher spirit mouthed ghost dancer
Mama my vein braider thousand year bone burner
Mama my tongue twister thousand pronged antlers
Mama my tongue twister thousant pronged antlers
Mama my vein braider thousand pronged antlers, antlers
And ooo her wild eyes, ooo her wild eyes

So I will ring my cells like bells as you
Bind your father's molecules with roots of silver
Pierce him cedars with eyes like fingers
Picking bloody flowers
His wild eyes, ooo his wild eyes

Papa my pine whistler sparrow-eyed sun misser
Papa my pine whistler sparrow-eyed moon blisser
Mama my jaw clincher spirit mouthed ghost dancer
Mama my vein braider thousand year bone burner
Mama my tongue twister thousand pronged antlers
Mama my tongue twister thousand pronged antlers
Mama my vein braider thousand pronged antlers, antlers
And ooo her wild eyes, ooo her wild eyes

Tiny green moss collector
Sweet tiny green moss collector
Remember you could catch fire
Remember you could catch fire with wild eyes
With wild eyes, ooo with those wild eyes

And once the river is rolling lower
We'll gather lichen from the boulders
We'll keep it dry inside our lockets
We'll put this town down into our pockets
We'll try...

To leave these branch arms behind
The swaying hands of pines
Their needles tugging at your skin
Trying to pull you back deep in their wooden womb
Of a hundred hearts hanging suspended, moth-eaten
Those muscles the size of your fist
All floating around your head
Not knowing who they're a loving
Not knowing how fast they're a pumping
Not knowing how hard they're a beating
Not knowing who they're a punching
Those muscles the size of your fist
All floating around your head
And throwing punches like we throw the stones to
The bottom of river beds
Who knows whose next?
To watch from under the currents
The rapids rapidly raging while rapid
While we're rapidly blinking our wild
Our wild eyes

[ MySpace | EPK | Faces in the Rocks | YouTube ]

Cherry Vid - Home by Great Northern

by Frank Gualtier -- 09/15/07

Great Northern - HomeH
ere's an awesome new video for Great Northern's song 'Home' from their 2007 debut LP 'Trading Twilight for Daylight'.

This group has all the key elements of an excellent and timeless band and that includes an eccentric imagination.

I've been dying to see a 'real' video from them since I first heard of 'em several months ago. Well -- it's here and as I expected it's totally whacked and very cherry.

Great Northern - Home

[ website | myspace | Trading Twilight for Daylight ]

Monday, September 03, 2007

Nancy K. Dillon - Just Let Me Dream

by Frank Gualtier -- 09/03/07, 09/15/07

Nancy K DillonIn 2004 Nancy K. Dillon released the LP Just Let Me Dream.

Though she's currently working on her next project 'Just Let Me Dream' is an album everyone who loves americana should own and I wanted to give it some attention.

While being a composite of americana, folk, folk rock and country it's the americana with it's rootsy edge that really sends this album into an orbit with the best of the best. Several of the 13 songs are true to the genre and two in particular -- 'O Susanna' and 'The Ballad of Mabel Dodge', which she wrote with Michael R. Bristow, truly stand out as americana poster children.

What is in that voice...

Nancy's got a strong smooth voice that nearly defines the word "comfort". It's rich and pure and has a sweetness to it that rings with depth. Stirred by vacancy, however, that comfort is wounded just slightly and she imparts this aspect -- comfort is haunted.

While the people she worked with to create this album are all very gifted it's Stacy Phillips, his resonator and a slide that just blaze against an already brilliant backdrop. You'd swear the man articulates his own self through that instrument for how he makes it talk and sing. Even when it's joyful it's nearly wrenching for how deeply it moves.

Of the two songs I mentioned in particular Nancy had this to say next to the lyrics of 'Mabel Dodge': "Mabel Dodge was an East Coast socialite who led the big city artists' exodus to Taos, New Mexico, in the 1930's. Her life was transformed by falling in love with a landscape and diving headlong into a trans-cultural love affair."

'O Susanna' is a song where both Nancy's voice and Stacy's resonator culminate in the same place. The only other words I can render are: If beauty were a kick in the chest this would hurt like hell.

Along with eleven other blissful tracks this album was put together with a lot of love and a lot of elbow grease.

It's every bit evident.

'O Susanna' by Nancy K. Dillon
1) O Susanna, night is coming on
Take your heart and keep it safe until the dawn
There I go again: wantin' the best for you
There you go again: sayin' that we're through...
2) O Susanna, stars light one by one
This old world keeps spinin' 'round the setting sun
There you go again: flying all apart
There I go again: the horse before the cart...
BRIDGE: Your wings are singed and sunburnt
While I sit like a stone
My stillness makes you crazy
You make me feel alone
3) O Susanna, don't you cry for me
Tune up that old banjo and play a filligree
Here we go again: dancin' on the flame
Here we go again: the music's still the same
4) O Susanna, don't you cry for me
Tune up that old banjo and play an elegy
Here we go again: dancin' on the flame
Here we go again: the music's still the same
O Susanna ...

From Nancy's myspace profile --
Musicians on "Just Let Me Dream" (besides Nancy K. Dillon) are:

Michael Hill (guitars/vocs/co-production)
Clive Gregson (voc/guitar)
Stacy Phillips (resonator guitar/twin fiddle)
John Reischman (mandolin)
Paul Elliott (fiddle)
Paula Walters (bass)
Jeff Simmons (Vox Jaguar organ)
Max Schwennsen (sax)
Murl Allen Sanders (B3/accordion)
Chris Leighton (percussion)
John Nelson (bass)
Mike Bristow (bass/songwritin')
Jay Weaver (drums)
Garey Shelton (bass/engineering/mixing)
Tom Hodge (clawhammer banjer/voc/songwritin')
Keith Lowe (bass)
Cutts Peaslee (drums)
Dan Tyack (pedal steel)
Dylan Rieck (cello)
Zoe von Beck (vocs)
Debby Nagusky (voc)
Ellen Burkett (voc)

Please seek out their music ~ these folks are just amazing!

Links for Nancy K Dillon:

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Cherry Vid - Copper Red by Sierra Swan

by Frank Gualtier -- 09/02/07
Photo by Jeaneen Lund
Sierra SwanIf this doesn't get your attention I swear I'm gonna crawl right through that monitor and...

This is the video for Copper Red by former Dollshead member Sierra Swan.

It's from her 2006 debut album Ladyland.

Sierra's a bit more of a label big shot than I usually feature here but through following her personal blog and witnessing her generosity with her music and the stories behind the songs (she's been giving away songs on her myspace profile) I've come to believe that she's an echelon spanning artist suited to a wide variety of palettes including that of those who read this blog.

Nutshell: I think you'll like her.


Links for Sierra Swan:

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Azure Ray - Chords - Sea of Doubts

by Frank Gualtier -- 09/01/07

Azure RayPiece by piece I've been reeling in my transcriptions from the web so that they have a home under the roof from which they sprung.

This is my chord transcription of Azure Ray's song Sea of Doubts from their final album Hold on Love.

'Hold on Love' marked both the zenith and the end of 'Azure Ray'.

Thankfully both members of the duo, Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor, have gone on to individually create music of equal and evolving quality and mood.

So despite the bit of sour grapes some of us felt at the disbandment of 'Azure Ray', it turns out that now we get the best of each of this duo's work coming at us in parallel.

Sour grapes to fine wine -- no alchemy required.

Sea of Doubts by Azure Ray
C / Em / C / Em /

C / Em /
i told them all the ones i love
C / Em Dm
i'm leaving and i may not return
C / Em /
see lately i've been overcome
C / Em Dm
the feeling i fear has just begun

the pain i feel deep inside
that haunts us all that we will die
F C G / / /
never really knowing how it feels

C F G Em
to be alive
C F G Em

C / Em /
through mountains and over seas
C Em Dm
through misery and disease
C / Em /
a spectator i played my part
C / Em Dm
but nothing could move this heart

until i held the boy's hand
the little one spoke like a man
he showed me death and said
C G / / /
this is how you know you're alive

C F G Em
C F G Em

C / Em Dm /
a kingfisher in flight
F / C /
you'll rise above this sea of doubts
F / C / (last beat silent on "yah")
into a world full of clouds - yah

C / Em /
C / Em Dm
F C G / / /

(repeat 4 times)
C F G Em

C (silent after first beat and a capella to finish)

Links for Azure Ray: